DSD? Opinions

Opinions please on DSD format files (e.g. 64 or 128).

Not so easy to get hold of and places where you can purchase them tend to be not on the cheap side.

Is DSD worth it?

Not tried it yet my self.

A music store Blue Coast Music let you download samples free of charge. Same track, different formats. Try it.


I’ll try this out.

Saying that, if Blue Coast is anything to go by, then the choice of albums ain’t my cup of tea :frowning:


Lots of DACs convert DSD to PCM in any case.
I have about 100 ripped SACDs, but since moving to a Chord DAC I hardly ever play a DSD version. If using Naim, Linn or Chord DACs then you may find 24/96 versions preferably. Of course, I’m assuming the mastering is the same.

That said you may find the internal conversion process in your NDX may make DSD sound better. Only way to know is give it a go.

When I had a DSD DAC I was impressed, but it was hard work finding music I wanted to play.

After spending an hour looking at the ‘usual suspects’ I’m coming to the same opinion :frowning:

I have a number of DSD albums & I really like them, I’ve found DSD is best for some but not all & it depends on genre & if the studio has the expertise & how they made, mixed & mastered the recordings.
I’ve found the least the studio needs to do in the mix/mastering process the better. Single mic is preferable, acoustic is better than amp’d, simple small ensemble, choral, folk & jazz all work well.
Big orchestra’s & rock/pop needing multi-mic with a lot of mixing is not so good.

Your home replay volume will always sound lower than PCM recordings, (there are reasons for this, but not here) You just turn up the volume & enjoy, but watch out for the loud stuff as it might surprise you.

Yes some studio’s are expensive, silly money TBH, especially the US based ones. I have a few from Blue Coast Records & although very excellent recordings & artists, I must’ve been mad.
There are some www.vendors that are more normal priced & some are very sensibly priced. I have a lot of jazz (light lounge easy listening) from Sound Liaison, all single/minimum mic’d & many ‘live’ studio work. HighResAudio have a good selection, look around www & some have special offers.

Look for the free samplers & try yourself

Derek Jones and Art Lande are two of their artists I like. What do you listen to?

Could not have said it better. Fully agree with you Mike-B. I have also bought from High Res and Soundliasion. Download free samples and compare.

It looks like tools to do music management might be a struggle as well; I mean tags/artwork/etc… I use MM4 for all of this but MM4 doesn’t seem to recognize dsf files. Okay I could use a different management tool for dsf files but it’s starting to get messy. I notice all the albums (well all the ones I’ve seen) are very much of the simple mic’ed/singer-songwrite genre which, tbh, is not in my normal comfort zone.

Not Naim, they play DSD as is

Confused … I thought Naim used a PCM1791A DAC, which is a 24-bit DAC. I thought you’d need 1-bit DAC (PS Audio, PlayBack Designs, Meitner). Might have misremembered this. Chord has a DSD playback mode on DAVE, but if you use MScaler it has to convert. IME MScaler is preferable.

I’m not entirely sure how Naim do it, but they enabled the old legacy players to stream DSD with a firmware change embodied within v4.3 .
My NDX has the PCM1791 DAC, but maybe worth noting the DAC is downstream of the SHARC DSP module & in the blurb Naim published at the time of v4.3 release it mentions that it was enabled in the DSP.

I use Mp3Tag (open source) for editing DSD, I use it for everything actually, it handles DSD exactly the same way as PCM.

Mike, I think the conversion is done in the SHARC DSP so very similar to my Chord, but I may be wrong. Linn does similar in FPGA before passing it to the AK DAC chip (Katalyst), but is adamant it did it because customers asked rather than for sound quality. I think the aim is to let you play and enjoy DSD files if you have them rather than to a move towards DSD.

The DSD samples mentioned are all superb recordings so no surprise they sound great. Lots of DSD recordings (e.g. Moody Blues remasters) are converted to PCM, edited with PC Tools, and reconverted to DSD: they still sound better than the CDs to me.

The Meitner, the only one I’ve heard of those I mentioned, upsamples everything to DSD512 and playing native DSD was superb, but very expensive. I seem to remember I was less convinced hearing it play CDs. It was some years ago I went in search of a DAC so things change.

Since the PS3 broke my SACD ripping has come to an end.

JRiver will tag DSFs and can even convert CD tips on the fly to DSD (even the designers seem unsure why though).

Qobuz said many months gao, or maybe over a year, that they planned to offer DSD but I’ve not see any to date.

Never purchased any DSD files so am interested in this myself.

Roon can output other formats as DSD, and I think someone preferred that to sending native, not sure I can tell much difference.

My DAC converts everything into DSD, so my experience is not likely to be typical. A good SACD sounds much more realistic (on my system) than the equivalent CD. A DSD download (you can find some good ones at HDTracks) is often better than the normal CD version. Generally DSD128 or 256 is better than 96/24 (on the couple of sample tracks that I have in both resolutions). I do not have any 192/24 tracks for which I also have the DSD, so can’t comment there.

I think the format by itself is not the definitive word. The implementation is crucially important. The designer of my DAC is one of the people behind DSD or SACD, both for the studio and for home, so no surprises that his DAC has a superior DSD implementation.

I went through the offerings on HDTracks and, tbh, there was nothing there that took my fancy. Again though I noticed that the genre that typically uses DSD is not my cup of tea. I’m wondering if this is because mixing/cutting DSD tracks is so darn hard. So genre of music that usually uses a lot of editing and mixing isn’t likely to be available as DSD. e.g. Rock etc… In fact anything that is DSD in this genre might well have been converted to PCM for mixing and editing and then back to DSD - as commented on above.

I haven’t bought any DSD files, but I do have a small but growing collection of SACDs, which I play via an Oppo 205 straight to analogue (no PCM involved).

I absolutely love the sound of SACD, which to me has a more “analogue” quality to it than either hi-res PCM or redbook CD.

Is it possible to rip SACD to DSD? If so what do you need? Isn’t there some tricky security on SACD to stop you doing this?

Okay… I was being lazy.

Done a bit of the google thing now… a lot of work :frowning:

I did about 100 on Sony PS3, but it was quite tedious especially separating an album in to tracks. The PS3 broke so that was that. It can be done with specific models of Oppo and Pioneer Universal Players using special firmware, but never done this myself.